CORBIN, Ky. (BP)–Regardless of the outcome of a current federal court case in his region, a Southern Baptist pastor leading a grassroots effort to post the Ten Commandments in public places believes his group will succeed.
Herschel Walker lives near London, Ky., where a federal judge recently ordered the Ten Commandments removed from courthouses and schools in three Kentucky counties as a result of an ACLU lawsuit.
But the pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church in Corbin, Ky., is confident his side will ultimately win the battle.
Since organizing the Ten Commandments Advancement Fund last November, Walker has spearheaded six pro-Commandment rallies in Kentucky and Tennessee. The gatherings have attracted approximately 25,000 supporters.
He said the fund is designed to encourage people to learn the Ten Commandments and post them in their homes, churches and public places.
“This is a grassroots stirring,” the pastor said. “I think God is in it. It’s bigger than anything we can imagine. We constantly get calls from across the country. God’s moving in the hearts of his people. It’s [based on] the Ten Commandments because there’s no more common ground.”
The citizen group has applied for status as a federally recognized, nonprofit organization and compiled a database of 40,000 names, mostly Kentuckians. In addition, it has raised more than $60,000 in donations.
The money is being used to purchase framed copies of the Mosaic law and such historic documents as the Mayflower Compact, National Motto and the preamble to Kentucky’s constitution to be given to interested governments and school systems. The telephone number for Walker’s church is (606) 523-9424.
Walker believes posting the ancient law is an idea whose time has come. He said God touched his heart as he led a Bible study at a Wednesday night service as he was reminded that God directed the Israelites to:
— Learn the Ten Commandments and make them an integral part of their being.
— To teach them to their children so they weren’t forgotten.
— To post them publicly on their gateposts.
Walker added that the second commandment about not worshiping any graven image concludes, “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me” (Exodus 20:5, NKJV).
In context, the reference to generations refers to people down through the ages, the pastor said.
“To say they are no longer in effect is to bury your head in the sand,” Walker said. “Jesus said he came to fulfill the law. To say we don’t need them? We’ve got 6-year-olds killing in the schools because we haven’t taught children, ‘Thou shall not kill.'”
Although he acknowledges that some Southern Baptist pastors don’t agree with him, Walker charges his critics with sitting in their comfort zones while the world is in a moral nosedive.
The Bible calls Christians to be salt and light, he said, and to preserve society they must take part in public life.
“We don’t need to sit behind our walls and padded pews and pat each other on the back,” Walker said. “We need to be salt and light.”
A spokesperson for the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., said the activity in Kentucky reflects the nationwide groundswell of support for the Ten Commandments.
Janet Parshall said the state “seems to be in the crosshairs” of the ACLU, but the lawsuits there haven’t deterred people in other states with taking similar action.
She compared the stand taken by citizens to “Patriot,” a forthcoming movie. An advertisement for the Mel Gibson adventure film says, “Some things are worth fighting for.”
“I think that’s what happening here,” Parshall said. “People are saying, ‘Enough is enough. It’s the backbone of American law. It is those eternal principles that have protected us from the beginning of time.'”
The Family Research Council has sold more than 750,000 copies of student book covers with the Ten Commandments. Nearly three-fourths of the sales have come during the current school year.
“Young people aren’t saying, ‘It’s a dumb idea, I won’t get involved,'” Parshall said. “It’s the opposite. They’re saying, ‘Yeah, we’ll walk it into the school halls.'”